North Chickamauga Creek Greenway
Type: Loop, out-and-back
Distance: 1.5-4.5 miles
Time: 1-2 hours
Traffic level: High
Drive time from downtown: 10 minutes
Highlights: Dog park, creek views
Rating: 3/5 stars
With busy schedules and injury recovery, it has been difficult to get out on the trails. Fortunately, there are several easy trails nearby, including the North Chickamauga Creek Greenway. Located by the Greenway Farm Dog Park in Hixson, this trail is great for anyone who wants to ease into hiking or trail running because there are multiple options: a 1.5-mile wooded loop, a 3-mile out-and-back, or a combination of both. We connected both trails for this review.
There is plenty of parking near the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy on Gann Store Road. The initial loop is west of the parking area, following along a sharp bend in the creek. The path is wide, flat and wooded, offering plenty of shade in the spring and summer months. The entire 1.5-mile loop is level and accessible for people of all ability levels. We saw many folks out with their dogs, so please follow the leash requirements.
As you complete the loop, take a right at the road toward the out-and-back portion of the greenway. The section is paved, but it also includes much more elevation change. You certainly don't need hiking boots, but I do recommend wearing comfortable shoes with good support.
The paved section starts with a moderate hill that climbs roughly 100 feet in 0.2 miles. This is the most difficult section of the hike. As you reach the top, you will find excellent views of Chickamauga Creek and a small lake below. You can hike down to the lake as an optional side path.
Continue southwest on the greenway and you will enter the TVA Big Ridge Small Wild Area. At 2.4 miles, there is a small loop at the end of the path. As the loop comes back around, there is a small parking lot with bathrooms on the right. At this point, you should continue north to return to the dog park area.
The North Chickamauga Creek Greenway is not quite an escape from the city like many other Chattanooga area hikes, nor is it challenging, but it is pleasant and accessible for hikers and dogs of all ability levels.
Meet Bryant and Elise
In late December, Bryant Hawkins and Elise Armstrong, recent Chattanooga transplants, kicked off a yearlong hiking project. Every week, they choose a different trail, varying in length and difficultly and located within one hour of Chattanooga, to hike and review.
Bryant is a photojournalist whose works has appeared in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. Elise is currently working on a Master of Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Together, the outdoor enthusiasts hope to discover the region's endless outdoor opportunities.
You can follow the Hawkinses' hiking adventures by "liking" Get Out Chattanooga on Facebook, where we share their write-ups every Friday.
Have a trail suggestion for the Hawkinses? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.